Win Tickets To Meat, Beer, and Cheese Night At The Portside Pub from WFLBC!

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Meat, beer, and cheese. These are three of my favourite things. On February 26th The Portside Pub in Gastown is having an event and you can win your way in with WFLBC!

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THE EVENT:​ The Portside Pub Presents… A Meat, Beer & Cheese Night Vol. 2
THE DATE: ​Thursday, February 26th – 8-9pm
THE LOCATION:​ The Portside Pub, 7 Alexander Street
THE EXPERIENCE: ​Hosted by Cheese Mongers & Parallel 49 at the “friendliest bar in
Vancouver”’, your ticket to the Meat, Beer & Cheese Night Vol. 2 includes a flight of 4
sample craft beers paired with a variety of cheeses and meats for your enjoyment.
SOCIAL MEDIA​: For more information, please follow: @ThePortsidePub on Twitter,
@ThePortsidePub on Instagram, The Portside Pub on Facebook and use hashtag
#PortsideMBC
RSVP:​on The Portside Pub’s Facebook Event Page
WEBSITE: ​www.theportsidepub.com
TICKETS:​$20 each through Ticketzone at http://goo.gl/Ku1kbU. $25 at the door
SPONSORS: ​Benton Brothers Fine Cheese, ​Parallel 49 Brewing Company, ​D Original
Sausage Company and Cheese Mongers.

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How do you win your way in? Simply tweet the following “I want meat, beer, and cheese @ThePortsidePub with @wflbc! #PortsideMBC” You can also post a picture of meat, beer, and cheese on Instagram. Make sure you tag @wflbc and @theportsidepub and use the hashtag #PortsideMBC so I can find it!

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The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, February 25th and your tickets will be waiting for you at the event. Portside is planning on making this a regular event. I’m going to get gout!

Scott.

 

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Casks for Surrey Memorial – UPDATED

It’s been awhile since my last fundraiser so let’s do this! Big Ridge Brewing Co. and the South Fraser Beer Club present Casks for Surrey Memorial. Join us Thursday August 28th at 6pm to help me show my appreciation to Surrey Memorial Hospital for saving my daughter’s life earlier this summer after a near drowning incident. Words cannot express my gratitude.

Casks for SMH

There will be 3 casks of local craft beer on hand. One from Big Ridge, one from Fuggles and Warlock Craftworks (their Super 8 Bit IPA no less!) and one from Surrey’s own Russell Brewing. Lots of local businesses have donated items for our silent auction/raffle including Dead Frog Brewing, Famoso Pizzeria, The Joseph Richard Group, Tasty Indian Bistro, Starbucks, Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store,  Dageraad Brewing, and more. Big Ridge Brewing will also be offering up some great swag along with hosting and organising the casks. We will also be doing a 50/50 draw. I can’t say enough about Rob and the whole team at Big Ridge and the Mark James Group, Their generosity over the years has helped me raise a lot of money for some amazing charities.

Hayley says thank you!!!
Hayley says thank you!!!

I hope to see everyone and I can’t wait to do some good for Surrey Memorial Hospital! The Big Ridge shuttle will be making trips to King George Station and it’s regular area, call 7789387433 to schedule a pick up and get home safe. DJ Alibaba will be playing all of your favourite hits from the 80’s and 90’s too.

There’s a Facebook event page here, invite all of your friends!

Please help us spread the word by sharing this on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or wherever you can.

Scott.

 

Booze Reviews – Estrella Damm Inedit

This post is going to ruffle some feathers among my craft beer friends. The thing is, S.A. Damm is a large scale commercial brewer of lagers from Spain, they are marco all the way. Macro beer is awful stuff, Heineken, Budweiser, Molson Canadian and on and on. These beers are loaded with adjuncts, fillers that make them cheap to produce, taste bland (and all the same) and quite bad for you. Corn and rice have no place in beer, period. Then Damm goes and does something awesome, they bring in world renowned chef Ferran Adria of and his team from the greatest restaurant to ever exist, el Bulli, and let them work their magic on a limited run beer.

Estrella Damm Inedit
Estrella Damm Inedit

For those of you unfamiliar with Chef Adria and elBulli you can check them out HERE and HERE. Chef Adria was joined by his business partner Juli Solar and elBulli Sommeliers Ferran Gentelles and David Seijas to create Inedit for Damm. Inedit translates to “Never been done before” and I tend to agree. There are beers that are made to pair with food but none that I can think of have this kind of talent behind them.

The beer itself is a lager\wheat beer blend with coriander and orange peel added to the brewing process to give it its desired flavour profile. It pours a cloudy pale yellow with a light, large white head and a nice amount of carbonation. The flavour is light and delicate with orange and coriander playing off the subtle hop notes. This beer is meant to be served chilled in a white wine glass ( yes, I know mine wasn’t in a wine glass…) and left in an ice bucket after it is opened. By itself this beer is quite nice but not extraordinary. You need to pair it with food to see what it’s really meant for.

I paired it with sashimi (tuna and salmon) and it was outstanding. The slightly oily yet delicate fish made the citrus notes of the beer sing like an opera. Beer pairing is quite different than wine pairing. Craft beer pairing is like hammering a nail into a piece of lumber, the flavours are often intense and need intense foods to balance with. Wine pairing is more like a finishing carpenter dovetail joining two pieces of a high end cabinet together, it takes a lot more finesse to get it right. Estrella Damm Inedit takes beer pairing and makes it as sophisticated and subtle as wine pairing, it’s quite an achievement. There are pairing suggestions in the little booklet that comes on the bottle and they’re spot on.

Like I said, my craft beer pals will not like this post but at the end of the day isn’t this what all of us want? A macro brewery trying to make unique and interesting beer? Doesn’t that mean that craft beer and its popularity are forcing the big guys to change their ways? It does.

Scott.

Odin Brewing Longtable dinner at The Pumphouse Pub

It’s been a while since I attended a be dinner so when Micah Noble from Kooner Hospitality Group invited me to blog about their upcoming Odin Brewing dinner at The Pumphouse in Richmond I couldn’t resist. Odin was launching their newest beer, Sigrun IPA, at this particular dinner. I vaguely remember a conversation with the owners of Odin about how they weren’t going to do an IPA, I told them that was crazy talk. I’m sure my semi drunken rebuttal had little impact on their decision to jump into the ultra competitive IPA market but I’m glad they did. More about the IPA later, let’s get to the dinner shall we?

 

Asian chopped salad paired with Odin's Freya's Gold Kolsch style ale
Asian chopped salad paired with Odin’s Freya’s Gold Kolsch style ale

Course 1 was a nice Asian inspired chopped salad with crispy won tons and a ginger sesame dressing. It was paired with Odin’s Freya’s Gold Kolsch style ale. Odin’s claim to fame is their focus on brewing beers that pair well with food and this Kolsch is a great example of that. It’s light, mild and really pairs well with just about everything.

Buttermilk fried chicken with garlic mash paired with Odin Viking Gold Extra Pale Ale
Buttermilk fried chicken with garlic mash paired with Odin Viking Gold Extra Pale Ale

Next up was a tasty buttermilk fried chicken leg on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes, comfort food 101. How can you go wrong with fried chicken and garlic mash? The breading was well seasoned, the potatoes were lump free. A very well put together southern classic. This dish was paired with Odin’s Viking Gold Extra Pale Ale, another light, clean and very versatile beer great for pairing with multiple dishes. As expected, this pairing worked quite well.

Beef and blue cheese house made pizza paired with Odin's Gift Nordic Amber Ale
Beef and blue cheese house made pizza paired with Odin’s Gift Nordic Amber Ale

Couse 3 was a rich and tasty beef and blue cheese pizza with a house made crust. Salty, tangy, meaty, awesome. This dish wasn’t a hit with everyone but I liked it a lot. It was paired with Odin’s Nordic Pale Ale (Odin’s Gift) and it was by far the best pairing of the night. Odin’s gift has a great juniper nose but is way more mellow than expected. Still, the pairing was perfect.

Coconut curry seafood baked rice paired with Odin's Sigrun IPA
Coconut curry seafood baked rice paired with Odin’s Sigrun IPA

The 4th course featured a baked coconut curry seafood rice and the afore mentioned Sigrun IPA. The rice dish was good but needed a little more seasoning (salt) and a little less time waiting to be served. The dinner had over 60 participants so it’s not surprising that  a dish or 2 might sit for a little too long. Now, the Sigrun IPA. In keeping with Odin’s other offerings this IPA isn’t the hop bomb that most IPA lovers were hoping for. it is a nice sessionable beer with a pleasant hop profile, maybe a good choice for a hot summer afternoon on a patio? The pairing could’ve used more heat (spice) in the curry.

Salted caramel banana custard tart pair with Odin's Thor's Equinox Strong Ale
Salted caramel banana custard tart pair with Odin’s Thor’s Equinox Strong Ale

The 5th and final course was a salted caramel banana custard tart. The picture isn’t a true representation of how it looked, I tried to remove the tart tin before taking the picture and sort of wrecked it…oops. Man handled looks aside this was a tasty tart, the custard was thick and creamy with nice banana chunks throughout. There was a thin layer of salted caramel at the bottom and a little whipped cream up top. It was pair with Odin’s Thor’s Equinox Strong Ale. Thor’s Equinor is an ass kicker at 9% abv but it is a nice balanced beer that pairs well with sweet food. Odin describes this beer as a “Belgian” style strong ale but there isn’t a whole lot of Belgian-y things going on in this beer, it’s more of an American strong or a thin porter.

Another solid beer dinner under my slowly tightening belt! Thanks to The Kooner Group for the invite, always a great time! Also it was nice to see the Beerthirst crew again, it’s been awhile.

Scott.

Side note… odinbrewing.wordpress.com??? Come on guys, spend the $13 and register a domain name.

152 Street Liquor store, a new Craft Beer hot spot in Surrey!

Craft Beer is really making a surge in terms of availability around the lower mainland. There are lots of restaurants and bars adding  craft beer to their menus every day. Private and government liquor stores are also getting in on the act and the latest addition in my home town of Surrey is 152 Street Liquor Store.

Yay beer!
Yay beer!

Located at 9082 152nd Street in the Price Smart parking lot (just off of 152 st and Fraser Hwy), they’ve just launched a pretty extensive craft beer program, which I found out after Lyndsey went there and brought me home a 6 pack of Philips Hop Circle IPA, which I didn’t know they carried. I’m quite happy to have a liquor store with a good selection of craft beer close to home, I love Central City and Big Ridge but their Liquor Stores are about a 15 – 20 minute drive for me, this is more like 5 minutes!

Why the change? They’re under new management and they’re obviously very intelligent,  ridiculously good  looking people just like all other craft beer fans.

Check out their website 152stliquorstore.com, They aren’t on Twitter or Facebook though, something I’m going to have to talk to them about 🙂

Scott.

WFLBC holiday gift guide!

Ah the holidays, it can be a pretty stressful time of year trying to fit in all the parties, visits with family and shopping. For me, figuring out what to buy everyone is always the biggest headache. Here’s a list of a few failsafe places/items for the food lover in your life.

Bacon
Bacon

BACON! That’s right, everyone loves bacon and there’s some great bacon themed gifts out there but the top dog has to be enrolling your loved one in a “Bacon of the month” club. BaconFreak.com offers this wondrous service and unlike much of their competition they ship to Canada!

Mmmm salt
Mmmm salt

SALT! Good quality salt has been a revelation to me this year. Sea salt, smoked salt, rock salt, black salt, Hawaiian red salt. Once you try good salt you’ll wonder how you ever ate table salt. You can buy good quality salt a lots of local shops but my favourite has to be Well Seasoned in Langley. While you’re there you can sign up for cooking classes, buy some amazing kitchen gear and chat with the knowledgeable and friendly staff. Say hi to Angie for me 🙂 If you’re a heat lover like me my pal Don makes his own chilli salt and it’s AMAZING! Check it out at zerocoolchillisalt.com

Benton Bros. on Cambie
Benton Bros. on Cambie

CHEESE! The loves of my life are few. They are, in order, my family, bacon, cheese, Scotch, Craft Beer, everything else. My favourite place for fine hand crafted, artisanal cheese from all around the globe is Benton Brothers Fine Cheese. With 3 locations throughout Vancouver They have something for everyone. Take your time, ask to try a few cheeses before you buy and bring home some gooey, stinky magic.

WCIPA
WCIPA

BEER! Craft beer drinkers are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. The list of people who I’ve formed friendships with over the last two years through craft beer is long and awesome. If you love craft beer you need to share that love! Head to Legacy Liquor Store in Vancouver, 16th Street Liquor Store in West Van, O’Hares Liquor Store in Richmond or Central City Liquor Store in Surrey and browse their ample selections of craft beer. New to craft beer? Ask one of the staff members to recommend something, or you could ask me on Twitter, I’m always just a tweet away when it comes to eating and drinking!

Whatever the occasion food and drink are always involved. They make the perfect gift and are way better to receive than socks.

Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus everyone!

Scott.

Pumphouse Pub Bacon and Beer Dinner!

Another Longtable dinner at the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond has come and gone and this one was a doozy! A five course bacon themed dinner, each course paired with a beer from the Beerthirst portfolio, bacon and beer? Yes please!! This dinner had the added twist of being a fundraiser for local golf phenom Nathan Leonhardt with all proceeds going to help his dream of playing on the PGA Tour.

Course one was a bacon, caramelized onion and goat cheese quiche paired with Odin Brewing Co‘s Freya’s Gold Kolsch style ale. The Quiche had a nice flaky crust with the bacon and caramelized onion giving the filling a salty richness with a slight tang from the goat cheese, very tasty. The Kolsch pairs well with any food, which is what Odin’s main goal is when they make a beer. It’s a nice light palette cleansing beer.

Course two was fried plantains with a spicy Thai bacon salad. It was paired with the Trailhead ISA from Two Beers Brewing Co. The plantains were great and complimented the Thai salad very well. Throw a little bacon in the mix and you really can’t go wrong. The Trailhead ISA was a nice pairing for this dish. It is a very sessionable beer that doesn’t over power the delicate flavours of the plantains. another winner.

Course three was prosciutto wrapped chicken with beurre rouge sauce. It was paired with Odin Brewing Co’s Odin’s Gift Ruby Ale. The chicken was cooked perfectly, quite an accomplishment when cooking for 60-70 people. The prosciutto was a nice salty pork jacket hugging the chicken, delicious. The beurre rouge sauce was good but the dish could’ve used a bit more of it and it could’ve been a little thicker. The Odin’s gift Ruby Ale pairs well with salty meat so it was a hit with the pork snuggled chicken.

Course four was a slow braised pork shoulder with apples, onions and bacon with a few pieces of roasted potato. It was paired with Tenaya Creek Brewing Co‘s Calico Brown Ale. The pork shoulder was well cooked and very tender without being dry but it lacked seasoning. The apple and bacon were a great pair but the dish needed more of both and the potato seemed a little out of place. This dish was a few small tweaks away from being incredible. The Calico Brown Ale paired well with the pork. It’s a hoppy brown ale and I have to say that it’s one of my favourites from the Las Vegas brewery.

The fifth and final course was a warm chocolate chilli brownie with chocolate bacon ice cream. It was paired with Elysian Brewing Co’s Peste Chocolate Chilli Ale. WOW! The brownie was moist and rich and had a great chilli kick to it, incredible. The chocolate bacon ice cream was perfect to balance the heat from the chilli in the brownie. This dessert was outstanding. The Peste Chocolate Chilli Ale has mellowed some since I first tried it but this beer was meant for this dish, it was an unbelievably good pairing.

It was great chatting with Nathan about his ambitions in the professional golf world and I’m happy that Beerthirst and The Pumphouse could raise some money to help him on his quest. Nathan plays on the Canadian Tour and has had success as an amateur and attended Northwood Texas University on a golf scholarship. Few people realize how expensive it is to play professional golf so every penny counts! Good luck Nathan, we’ll be watching your career and cheering for you!

Scott.

Beer Review, Molson M

I like beer a lot, maybe even as much as I like food. Big talk but spend a few hours with me at a pub and you’ll see that I’m serious. I recently had the opportunity to try Molson’s new beer named M. When I tried it I was on stop number four of a pub crawl so my initial impressions may have been a little skewed by my level of intoxication. Lyndsey picked up a case for me today so I thought I would tell you what I think about it while I’m sober.

Molson M is a 4.9% “Microcarbonated” lager. It won a gold medal at the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards in the North American Premium Lager category beating out Premium Lager, Muskoka Cottage Brewery (ON) and Island Lager, Vancouver Island Brewing (BC). Not bad from a mega brewery not know for winning awards. Microcarbonation is a trademarked process that makes tiny bubbles similar to champagne but less noticeable on the tongue. The beer has a slightly sweeter more malt based flavor than Molson Canadian with a hint of caramel and is far easier to drink. The Gold medal is a bit of a mystery to me though, I don’t see this beer being anywhere near as good as Island Lager but lager’s are all a little “Wonderbread” to keep them accessible to beer drinkers who are a little less adventurous.

Over all a good lager, better that most other Molson products but there are better options out there. Don’t be shy, drink craft beer, it will blow you away.

Scott.

Who likes beer?

OOOOhhhh a poll, fancy! Click your answer and read on, beer wants you to…

Beer, a beverage best enjoyed with friends. Dating back to 9000BC it is the one of the oldest prepared beverages in the world. What makes it so good? What gives it world-wide appeal? Simple, it’s readily available and relatively inexpensive. It also comes in handy single serve cans or bottles perfect for parties or tailgating but most of all it is the incredible variety of beer that is available. There are thousands of brands of beer all around the world, the actual number is impossible to determine, so finding the right beer is possible if you know where to look.

The picture above is my humble home PC where I write my blog, unless I’m on the road in which case my trusty Blackberry fills in. You will notice that to the left of my keyboard there is a frosty mug of Okanagan Spring Porter, a dark beer that has an alcohol content of 8.5%, a little stronger than the industry average of 5%. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea but that’s ok, there are so many choices out there and I would like to know what your favorites are?

Normally my drink of choice is Single Malt Scotch, an acquired taste to say the least. I’m not sure where I first tried it and I’m not sure why I enjoy it so much. I am very specific when it come to the types of Scotch I drink, usually Highland or Islay, not Lowland as I find it too earthy or too smoky. The problem with Scotch is that it is inconvenient. It comes in a large bottle, you drink it from a glass…no good for most “party” situations.

Beer for me is very similar. I have my favorites but the cool thing about beer is that even if it isn’t that good people tend to finish it. Take for example the Clover Ale at Big Ridge Brewing Company. I really wasn’t a fan of it during my last visit there. Kurt reminded me that it used to better and it made me wonder why they would change it? I finished it because that’s normal right? Sure it is, how else would the serving staff know you’re done and come to ask if you want another.

Some of my favorites are Sapporo, Sleeman Honey Brown, Guinness, Original Coors (?), OK Spring Porter, the list goes on longer than my emerging carpel tunnel syndrome wants to type. I guess what I’m getting at here is a question, what is your favorite beer, or beers? Why do they sit atop of your beer kingdom? Please feel free to answer these questions in the reply section at the bottom of this post, I would really like to here from you!

Scott.